Since 2016, PA ABLE accounts have provided disabled Pennsylvanians a way to save for disability-related expenses without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits.
Living with a disability is often associated with a significant financial burden, such as medical expenses and the cost of assistive equipment. Plus, earning and saving any amount of money to cover those costs could potentially disqualify someone for necessary social services that they would otherwise be fully entitled to receiving.
To help its disabled residents, Pennsylvania offers ABLE accounts. Modeled after college savings accounts, ABLE (an acronym for Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts allow individuals with qualifying disabilities to save for a wide range of disability-related expenses while maintaining government benefits. The federal program was established in 2014. PA ABLE was enacted in 2016 and the first account was opened in 2017.
Money from ABLE accounts can be used for day-to-day costs (housing, groceries, and transportation) or for larger expenses (education, assistive technology, and adapted vehicles).
“PA ABLE accounts are powerful tools to help people with disabilities increase financial wellness and independence by saving, tax-free, without endangering important benefits like Medicaid and SSI,” state Treasurer Stacy Garrity said. “The program’s goal is to help our friends and neighbors living with disabilities plan for a secure financial future and live more independently.”
In order to be eligible, a person must have been diagnosed with a qualifying disability prior to their 26th birthday. Starting in 2026, the age will be raised to 46 due to the passage of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act by Congress last December.
While most states have their own programs, PA ABLE is the largest program in the 19-member national alliance, accounting for 25% of all program assets. In its six years of existence, the commonwealth’s program has 7,500 accounts with nearly $90 million saved.
PA ABLE account owners can choose between six different investment options and an interest-bearing checking account. It takes just $25 to open an account.
There is also no federal or state income tax owed on earnings or withdrawals for qualified expenses. Contributions up to $17,000 can be deducted annually on state income taxes.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that ABLE is a life-changing savings program,” Garrity said. “It’s great to see more and more people taking advantage of the great benefits that come with saving with ABLE.”
To find out more about PA ABLE accounts, click here.